Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp tightens message forwarding limits, restricting users to sharing forwarded content one chat at a time after a rise in messages promoting false medical advice since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic, which has killed more than 86,000 and has infected over 1.4 million people worldwide, has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called an “infodemic” of misinformation.
This has prompted governments and other authorities globally to urge social media companies to do more to combat the problem.
WhatsApp (has more than 2 billion users worldwide) said in a blog post it made the change after observing a “significant increase” in the number of forwards since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
“We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” the statement said.
A WhatsApp spokesman said the new limit was in place indefinitely.
Facebook and Twitter have also responded to the ‘infodemic’ of inaccurate medical information posted in recent months by barring users from posting misleading information about the coronavirus.
This includes, among others, denials of expert guidance and encouragement of fake treatments.
Many people have been misled recently via this inaccurate and some deliberately misleading information.